Monday, June 4, 2018

European Western Comic Books ~ I protaganisti (Jed Smith)

I protagonisti was a western comic series created by Rino Albertarelli and published monthly from 1974 to 1975 by Daim Press. The series presented documented and meticulous biographies of the heroes of the West and was only interrupted by the death of the author.

Each issue contained a monograph of a Western epic character with a comic strip story accompanied by a bibliography containing books consulted by the author in his documentation work. The series ran from September 1974 until June 1975.

The series was commissioned by Sergio Bonelli and Rino Albertarelli who wrote and designed the series for Daim Press in 1973. When Albertarelli died, on September 21, 1974, he was working on the tenth issue and only the first issue had been released on newsstands. The publishing house decided to end the series with the tenth volume, of which Albertarelli had completed only the first 42 tables, so Sergio Toppi was hired to finish the series.

In 1994 the series was reprinted in the series The Protagonists of the West, edited by Hobby & Work. A second reprint was published in 2007 in the series of History of the West by If Editions with the headline “History of the West Presents the Protagonists”. In each issue there are two stories in the chronological order of the original publication.

Issue #4 was about the life and legend of Jed Smith

Among the most fascinating figures of the Far West epic is that of the trapper. A professional hunter, he traveled through the still-civilized regions of North America in search of virgin hunting grounds, rich in beavers and other animals, whose fine furs were exported to Europe.

Jedediah Smith is one of the most famous mountaineers in the history of the West and part of his fame is due to the discovery, during his hunts, of a pass in the southern part of the Rocky Mountains. Although not a pioneer by profession, Jed ended up paving the way to the land colonization of the vast regions extending west of the imposing mountain range, previously considered impassable.

That of Jed and his companions was certainly not an easy life. In addition to dealing daily with the dangers of unspoiled and wild nature, these rude men had to deal with "gangs" of rival hunters, often linked to large companies engaged in the leather trade. And, above all, they constituted the "avant-gardes" of white men who came into contact with the Native American populations, not always peaceful and not always well disposed towards "the invader".

A rich and adventurous life like a novel that of Jed Smith, which the author tells with a large amount of historically documented facts as is characteristic of this series, The Protagonists, published in 1974 by the Editorial Daim Press (today Sergio Bonelli Editore) . Ten volumes entirely written and designed (including covers) by Rino Albertarelli and dedicated to as many mythical characters of the Far West.

This issue contains 109 pages.

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